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Blog of Rights / ACLU

House Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretapping Program

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, an unconstitutional domestic spying law that gives vast, unchecked surveillance authority to the government. The law, passed in July of 2008, authorizes the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls.

The Senate is expected to take up the law’s reauthorization later this year. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has put a hold on the bill citing privacy and transparency concerns. Act now to tell the Senate that you’re counting on them to uphold the Constitution, and fix FISA!

In a statement we issued after the House vote, ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson commented:

“Yet again, the House has rubberstamped a law so broad and vague that, despite its passage four years ago, we still have little idea how the government is using it. It is at the very heart of the Fourth Amendment that Americans and their communications are fiercely protected from government intrusion. This law should be amended to include much stronger privacy protections when the Senate takes it up later this year.”

Later this fall, on October 29, the Supreme Court will hear the ACLU’s challenge to the constitutionality of the law. The plaintiffs include human rights, media and legal organizations. The government claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that their own communications have been or will be monitored under the statute – information that the government refuses to provide.

Stay tuned.

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Ateqah Khaki

Ateqah Khaki is a Senior Communications Strategist at the ACLU, where she works on issues related to speech, privacy & technology; national security; and human rights. She manages the ACLU’s “Demand Your dotRights” digital privacy campaign, among other campaigns and projects.

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